“Thank you, Marcia. You make me feel so brave!”

I’m Marcia Hoeck, and I take the scary out of running a small business, for values-based creative business owners like you — I fill in with the stuff you didn’t learn in school. The quote above is from one of my clients. [Read the full article.…]

How to Overcome Sales Reluctance

by Marcia Hoeck on February 17, 2014

PeeWeeHermanSometimes, as business owners, we feel icky about having to sell. We don’t like the fact that we have to sell or market or talk about what makes what we offer so wonderful.

That’s so much like bragging, and didn’t your mother tell you not to brag?

We don’t like being sold to and don’t want our clients to feel that way.

So much about selling and marketing our businesses gives us that icky feeling.

Everyone should just know, right?

They should be able to tell how wonderful we are by looking. By seeing our work. By engaging with us. And knowing how sincere and talented we are and what we are capable of, because it oozes out of every cell in our bodies.

Except it doesn’t work that way.

We all pretty much look the same to clients

It doesn’t work that way because there are so many of us. So many talented, wonderful, sincere, capable, creative business owners for clients to choose between—and they can’t tell the difference. Add to that the number of not-so-talented, not-so-wonderful, insincere, incapable business owners who can talk a good game, and you’ve got a real conundrum for clients—how to choose? I mean, can you see how difficult it is for them when we all pretty much look and sound the same?

Follow these rules to overcome your reluctance for sales:

1. Talk about the passion you have for your work. No one automatically knows anything. Not about you, your business, or what you can do for them. You have to talk about it—a lot. In person, in writing, in your marketing. Talk, talk, talk.

2. Sales pitches aren’t [Read the full article.…]

What’s Your Most Important Business Objective?

by Marcia Hoeck on January 16, 2014

FlowchartSmI was responding to a client’s e-coaching question yesterday about setting up structure and systems in her business, and where to start.

She’s knee deep in many things, and has a lot of areas of her business that she wants to pull together.

Instead of jumping in and beginning to prioritize her list of wants, I asked her this question:

What is your most important business objective right now?

Do you know yours?

Business objectives change from time to time, so it’s important to identify what resonates with you right now, for your #1 main objective.

Here are some common business objectives:

• getting your name out there, becoming visible

• serving the clients you already have

• bringing in money to pay the bills

• creating clear and attractive offers or programs clients will want to invest in

and so on.

One is most important

Sometimes, you may know right off the bat which of these objectives is most important. Other times, they may all seem equally important. One of them is more important than the others, although at first they all may seem equally important to you.

Here’s a trick

It’s really difficult to compare a list of items and decide which is more important, but a trick to start whittling them down is [Read the full article.…]

Branding Workshop for Designers

by Marcia Hoeck on January 6, 2014

Screen shot 2013-10-24 at 2.06.50 PMThere are still a few seats left!

If you’re looking for a way to bring more revenue into your design or marketing communications firm, work with higher level clients, and be valued more for your work, this workshop is for you.

Join us, branding experts Marcia Hoeck and Ed Roach, for a live, in-person 2-day branding workshop.

When: January 27 & 28, 2014

Where: San Diego, California, at the warm & welcoming Rancho Bernardo Inn

Register: Click here to find out more

Learn our process for making more money with branding

We will take you by the hand and lead you through our proprietary process for building brands for clients. You’ll learn details of the same process we have used, and are still using, to make $20,000 to $50,000 on branding projects, before we even start designing. We will pick up where our webinars (did you watch them? See below to catch them again) left off.

Register now, as there are only 20 total spots available for this exclusive workshop, and we are 75% sold out. And, because we don’t want to saturate the market with our process, we’re only admitting one creative firm per geographic area. Save your space now to make sure it’s you!

This is the perfect time to think seriously about the direction of your business for next year. I challenge you to think about how adding a powerful dimension like strategic and authentic branding can really boost your bottom line for 2014.

Hope to see you in San Diego next month!


P.S. Did you listen to all three branding webinars we did this fall? Here’s where you can get the recordings, in case you missed one or want to listen again:

1. “Common Mistakes Designers Make with Branding (& How to Fix Them)” HOW On-Demand Design Tutorial

2. “How to Position Yourself as a Branding Expert (Even If You’ve Never Done It Before)”HOW On-Demand Design Tutorial

3. “How to Make $20,000 to $50,000 on Your Next Branding Project, Before You Even Start Designing,” our own no-cost Video Recording

Three Ways to Sell Branding

January 5, 2014

Some of the questions Ed Roach and I are asked the most by designers about our branding process revolve around actually selling branding. They ask us,
“How do you sell branding?”
“What kind of pitch do you use?”
“How do you find the clients who are interested and will pay what branding’s worth?” and
“How do I become [...]

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I Only Do This Once a Year

November 29, 2013

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in the US, and I’m spending the holiday weekend with my son and his family. Right now I’m sitting in front of a warm fire, watching cartoons with my grandkids. If you celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend, I hope you’re having a warm and wonderful holiday.
And, in honor of the Black Friday shopping craziness, [...]

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Think You Might Have ADHD?

November 2, 2013

Some of the most creative people in the world do, you know.
Successful business owners like Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Airlines; Ingvar Kamprad, Swedish Founder and Chairman of IKEA stores; David Neeleman, Founder and CEO of Jet Blue Airways; and Paul Orfalea, the Founder and Chairperson of Kinkos all have ADHD and are incredibly creative [...]

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Four Ways to Solve the Problem of “Too Much Work”

October 27, 2013

Sure. It looks good from the outside. Instead of having to scrap and claw for projects, somehow – and often you don’t know how it happens – you just have too much work.
You know you should be appreciative, and you are, but it’s also very frustrating and stressful to be so busy that you [...]

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The Un-Icky Way to Set Fees and Get Paid What You’re Worth — According to Newton’s Third Law

October 5, 2013

I know. You don’t like to talk about your money. And you don’t like to look at it, either. It’s so much easier to try to figure out ways to make more money than it is to peek at your business finances, to get the picture of whether or not you’re actually profitable. It’s [...]

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The Zen of Bad Internet and Crappy Phones — or, How to Do Nothing

August 23, 2013

The plan was to get up early to kayak before I started working, when the sun was just peeking over the edge of the lake. What actually happened was I woke up well past “early” to the annoyed bark of a wiener dog, finally tired of waiting sweetly for her breakfast.
“Get up already,” she [...]

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How to Stop Wasting Time

July 24, 2013

I saw a statistic this morning that the average person wastes fully one-third of their work day – one-third! And that’s before you take into consideration that the remaining two-thirds can’t be entirely billable or income producing. Once you do get focused on work, a good portion of that remaining time will be allocated [...]

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How to Move Forward Faster by Being Better at Making Decisions

July 9, 2013

You’re careful in your business, because you’re serious about it. You weigh things meticulously before making decisions, or maybe you even agonize over decisions, putting them off until you have just the right and perfect answer. And you probably think you’re doing the right thing.
But that caution in decision-making may be precisely what’s holding [...]

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Are You Serious About Making Progress in Your Business?

June 26, 2013

My Success Club is Now Open!

The Success Club & Mastermind program is a 6-month program specifically designed to propel you and your creative business to the level you’ve always wanted it to go, presented by Marcia Hoeck.

From the priceless gems of what works for running a values-based creative business to the latest and most effective strategies [...]

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How Not Being Perfect Helped Me Serve My Clients

June 22, 2013

I just held two live client events in six weeks. And while both events were fabulous and wonderful and successful and invigorating and I wouldn’t change a dang thing about either of them (well, maybe next time) . . . it was not only difficult, it was absolutely crazy.
It sounded like a good idea [...]

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How to Succeed in Business in 12 Easy Steps

May 29, 2013

Step #1: Love to do something
Find something to do that you love so much you can’t tear yourself away from it. Do it all day and into the wee hours of the night. Get so excited about it that you can’t keep yourself from talking to everyone you know – and lots of people you [...]

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What I’ve Learned from 28 Years in Business

May 25, 2013


I have learned a lot during the 25 years that I owned my marketing communications firm, and during the 3 years I’ve been coaching and consulting with creative business owners.
I learned a lot about my clients, my business, and myself.
About my clients, I learned that:
• Everyone is afraid in one way or another. You [...]

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How to Be Effectively Productive

May 13, 2013

One of the biggest challenges we face as business owners is spending our time well. After you go to the trouble of learning how to create time, you want to make sure you’re making the best use of it. And you know as the captain of your own ship, how you spend your time [...]

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How to Create Time

April 2, 2013
Albert Einstein

This post was originally posted in my blog on March 2, 2011. 
Now this is the ultimate time management system: becoming the source of your own time and making as much of it as you want. It’s something I’m working on, right now.
I can create time.
I’m actually creating time as I write this, and you’re [...]

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Announcing My LIVE 3-Day Retreat June 10 – 12

March 22, 2013

Announcing my LIVE 3-day retreat in historic midtown Detroit, Michigan:

June 10 – 12, 2013
Learn more about my LIVE Retreat
In 3 short days, you’ll build your business courage, confidence, and influence in an intimate, business & mindset strengthening experience with me and a small circle of creative, committed, and interesting business owners like you.
We’ll be rolling up [...]

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“But Marcia, I Just Want to Make More Money”

March 2, 2013

This is something I hear sometimes from business owners when I talk about confidence challenges, or not having the right clients because of a confidence challenge: “But I love my clients! And I don’t have a problem with my confidence — I just wish they’d pay me more. I don’t seem to be able to [...]

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Ditch Your Elevator Speech

January 28, 2013

Parts of this article originally ran in Parse, a blog presented by HOW magazine.
There you go, walking into that business networking event, hoping to meet people you can impress, but knowing that when anyone asks what you do, you’re going to totally underwhelm them.
And you’re going to say something really lame that ends the [...]

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“Kicking Fear to the Curb” . . . Darlene Cary Interviews Me on Her Site

January 24, 2013

Had a fun interview last month with the vivacious Darlene Cary of Her Next Step. Darlene helps women create businesses that work with their lives, one step at a time, based on the tough lessons learned from years in the corporate world.
Darlene and I met on Twitter (you meet the nicest people on Twitter!) [...]

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Find Your Mojo: How to Uncover and Talk About What Makes You Truly Different and Valuable in Business

January 17, 2013

Many times business owners flounder in existing businesses, or fail when starting new businesses because they can’t seem to get in the groove. Running the business seems difficult, confusing, and overwhelming. It’s hard to know where to start or even what to fix.
This doesn’t have to be the case.
Maybe you just have to find [...]

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Five Ways to Stay Focused

January 10, 2013

In December, Brain PlugIn executive coaching client Dave Fleck flew in from Philadelphia to begin his program with a customized full-day VIP Intensive. We spent eight hours planning Dave’s next six months for his business, with flip charts and sticky notes and lots of brain power. We covered so much, it was important for both of us [...]

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